Ranji Trophy: Spinners run riot in Goa-Andhra game

Andhra's Bhargav Bhatt (six for 36) and debutant Bukkapatnam Siddharth (four for 52), Andhra’s left-right tweaker twosome, wove quite a tangled web as they bundled out Goa for 115. In response, Andhra was skittled out for 159 thanks to an eight-wicket demolition by Shadab Jakati

Bhargav Bhatt's six-wicket haul helped Andhra bowl out Goa for a paltry 115.   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

Bhargav Bhatt (six for 36) and debutant Bukkapatnam Siddharth (four for 52), Andhra’s left-right tweaker twosome, wove quite a tangled web. Between them they bundled out Goa for 115, three quarters of an hour after lunch on the opening day of their Ranji Trophy group C match. Stealing the thunder from them was Goa’s spin stalwart Shadab Jakati (eight for 53) who almost single-handedly laid the table topper low, skittling it out for 159.

The slender 44-run first innings lead was no consolation for Andhra’s brittle batting, which nearly undid the good work of its bowlers. Failing light forced suspension and then stoppage of play 13 minutes from the scheduled close. At the Railway Stadium, the two teams had tumbled on a track where the ball turned square.

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Andhra opted to field first. Bhatt drew first blood, having Swapnil Asnodkar caught by first slip G. Hanuma Vihari. The Andhra captain, a magnet of sorts, snapped up his counterpart Sagun Kamat off Siddharth and then held striker Sumiran Amonkar’s snick off Bhatt.

Misal didn’t last long, trapped in front by Siddharth, introduced from the church end. Bhatt struck again when switched to the station side, extracting an edge from Snehal Kauthankar. At lunch, Goa reeled at 84 for five.

Shortly after, Bhatt moved in swiftly from wide of long-on to latch on to a lofted on-drive from S.S. Bandekar off Siddharth. The southpaw couldn’t stop himself short of the ropes, hurled the ball back towards the arena and then clasped the cherry.

Jakati was picked up by forward short leg A.G. Pradeep off Bhatt. Off the next ball, Ritu Raj Singh’s drive was taken by Ricky Bhui in the covers. Amulya Pandrekar became Bhatt’s sixth scalp holing out to P. Vijay Kumar also at cover.

Goa opened its attack with Jakati. The strapping left arm spinner didn’t disappoint, grazing opener D.B. Prasanth’s blade for a simple catch to Kamat in the slips. But for a two-over spell when Ritu Raj shared the new ball, Goa persisted with left-arm orthodox spin, Misal and Pandrekar backing up their senior, who continued unchanged from the start.

Jakati landed the spoils though, leaving Ravi Teja’s stumps splayed with a delivery that cut in viciously. Vihari’s edge popped out of his equivalent Kamat’s palms but the Goan skipper fell back to reclaim the prize. There was no stopping the 35-year-old, who plied his fare over and around the stumps.

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